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Sir Richard Woolley

© the copyright holder. Photo credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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A portrait of Sir Richard van der Riet Woolley, who was the Astronomer Royal from 1956 to 1971. The picture is signed and dated, 1971, and a label on back reads 'Sir Richard Woolley FRS, Astronomer Royal, 1956–1971. Presented to Sir Richard on the occasion of his retirement by the staff of the Royal Greenwich Observatory December 31, 1971'. Woolley was subsequently Director of the new South African Astronomical Observatory, 1972–1976. Though born in Weymouth he had strong family connections there, undertook his early university education there after his parents moved back to South Africa on retirement, and spent his last years there himself after his final retirement in 1976. Since this portrait came to the Museum as part of the RGO Collection in 1998, it seems likely he either gave or left it to the Observatory.

National Maritime Museum





oil on canvas


H 89 x W 69 cm

Accession number


Work type


Inscription description

Margaret Ware 1971


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National Maritime Museum

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